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Joan Mellen has asked me to post this on the Forum:

Truth as Casualty - A Response to Carol Brightman and Carl Ogelsby on the Sixties

By Ralph Schoenman, January 21, 2008

In an article entitled ³Carol Brightman on the Sixties² (Truth-Dig, January 6, 2008) Ms. Brightman reviews three books, including Ravens In the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960¹s Anti-War Movement by Carl Oglesby.

The article is replete with falsehoods and disinformation concerning the work of the International Tribunal on U.S. War Crimes in Indo-China, of which I was Secretary-General, and of my role within it.

Ms. Brightman¹s errors, large and small, embellish the pattern of distortion in Mr. Oglesby¹s book. The most egregious of these fabrications concerns the views of Jean-Paul Sartre, Executive President of the Tribunal and of other Tribunal members on the question of genocide.

Ms. Brightman¹s claims regarding her own role are instructive, not merely for their petty misrepresentations but for what she conceals. She writes, ³Early in 1967, I had gone on the second of the tribunal¹s two fact-finding teams to North Vietnam, the only American and only woman.²

In fact, not two but six investigative teams were sent to Cambodia and North Vietnam, with supplemental investigative work carried out in the liberated zones of South Vietnam. Ms. Brightman was not the sole American on the second team, but one of three.

She omits to mention that members of these teams had been briefed about the sensitivity of our work, notably in countries under agonizingly massive and continuous attack by overwhelming U.S. air and ground assault.

Each potential participant had been vetted for their qualifications to examine evidence pertaining to the issues at hand and, in particular, for responsible discretion with respect to U.S. intelligence efforts to obtain information about Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian logistics on the ground.

Visas for members of these teams were arranged with the authorities in these countries based upon such assurances. To our dismay, when we boarded the plane in Paris for Phnom Penh, accompanying Ms. Brightman was a man unknown to us who carried an ABC television camera.

Ms. Brightman stated that this was her boyfriend, whom she had invited to join our investigative team and participate in its work. We explained that this was not possible, that he was unknown to us, had not been placed on the team and had not been approved for visas by the governments of Cambodia and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. We advised her that he would not be admitted to Phnom Penh unless he had a visa arranged by ABC and that, regardless, he would have no part in our work.

On arrival, he gained entry by representing falsely that he was a late inclusion in our investigative team. He shared quarters with Ms. Brightman, who attempted daily to insinuate him in our work.

This was refused by the team collectively. Members of the investigative team met to decide how to deal with this situation. The abiding sentiment was to remove Ms. Brightman from the team and exclude her from its work; there were concerns that we were in the presence of a provocation intended to discredit the team itself.

It was agreed that I would consult the Cambodian and Vietnamese authorities and describe the situation fully. We learned that Ms. Brightman¹s friend had attempted to interview officials and individuals, presenting himself as ³Bertrand Russell¹s representative.²

He was asked by the Cambodian authorities to leave. He showed up in Saigon where he conducted interviews with U.S. soldiers, later shown on U.S.

television. These were interviews sympathetic to U.S. policy.

The Vietnamese representatives in Phom Penh alerted Hanoi to the situation and it was agreed that to avoid a public dispute deployed by U.S. media to undermine the work of the Tribunal, Ms. Brightman would continue with us to Hanoi, but that she would not be allowed access to any sensitive zone or area.

In her article, Ms. Brightman, describes ³drinking and swapping stories² at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi. ³Schoenman, it was said, had stood up at a dinner with North Vietnamese leaders and rebuked them for thinking of peace.

He raised his glass in a victory salute; no one responded.²

The story is risible. I had been meeting with Ho Chi Minh, Pham Van Dong and party and governmental figures over a period of four years to discuss how most effectively to wage resistance to the U.S. war internationally, including our preparations for the Tribunal that had been ongoing since 1963.

I was chair at the time of the Vietnamese Solidarity Campaign in Great Britain, with sixty member organizations. Our public view, and that of Bertrand Russell during those years, was that we must face U.S. rulers with the demand ³Out Now,² not pressure the Vietnamese victims of onslaught to make concessions to U.S. imperial policy in the name of ³peace.²

The occasion of these remarks by Ms. Brightman is an ostensible review of Carl Oglesby¹s memoir. Ms. Brightman quotes extensively from ³Oglesby¹s account² which, she states, ³gives a vivid portrait of Ralph Schoenman, the American expatriate and Russell¹s representative.²

Mr. Oglesby writes as follows: ³Schoenman was about thirty, a tall man with broad shoulders. He wore his black hair combed straight back and varnished down. His skin was pale, his dark eyes nervous and darkly shadowed. He was always in a black turtleneck sweater and dark blue blazer, always stiffly erect with his chest out Š²

Mr. Oglesby¹s self-description to the Tribunal was as ³a playwright and political essayist² and perhaps he thinks of himself as entitled to dramatic license.

My height is under 5¹ 10² and I am of slender build. My shoulders are not broad nor does my chest protrude. My weight was in the 150¹s in 1967. It is

145 today. My hair is not black, but medium brown. I have never combed it straight back nor plastered it to my scalp. My hair was combed loosely forward, Beatles style.

My color now as then is pretty good. I have never been accused of suffering from pallor. My eyes are light hazel with a touch of green, not black or even dark. I have never owned a black turtleneck sweater nor attempted to wear one. My standard dress was a suit or a jacket, dress shirt and necktie.

My preference in pullovers, worn occasionally in less formal settings, has been those of light colors.

Mr. Oglesby may have someone else in mind. He writes, however, to Ms.

Brightman¹s delectation:

³In one closed meeting of the tribunal during our second session in late November in a town called Roskilde, about twenty miles from Copenhagen, Schoenman announced that Russell wanted the tribunal to take an affirmative position on the genocide question, one of several questions the tribunal was examining.

³The practical question was whether the United States was specifically targeting Vietnamese population centers. Attacks on civilians constituted a crime of war, technical genocide. Schoenman told us that Russell believed such attacks were happening and that the United States was therefore guilty of genocide.

³Sartre disagreed. He saw American attacks on population centers as a consequence of the fact that Viet Cong and North Vietnamese combat units often stationed themselves in cities and villages. As Sartre saw it, such attacks were deplorable but nonetheless did not constitute genocide. In Sartre¹s view, one could not use that term without evoking memories of Hitler¹s assault on the Jews. Compared to the Holocaust, what the United States was doing in Vietnam was just fighting an ugly war in an ugly way. If the United States was in the wrong, he felt, that was because its effort to subdue the Vietnamese resistance was in itself wrong, not because the United States was trying to exterminate the Vietnamese people.²

The claim by Mr. Oglesby that U.S. saturation destruction of the civilian population of Vietnam only occurred as an ancillary consequence of the deliberate placement by the Vietnamese of their soldiers and armed forces inside population centers is not merely a deeply reactionary and dishonest claim. It was the lying rationale of the U.S. State Department and of the Pentagon.

Ms. Brightman writes that ³Oglesby was a great admirer of Jean-Paul Sartre, who together with Simone de Beauvoir and Vlado (sic) Dedijer, a World War II adjutant of Tito¹s and a hero of the Yugoslav anti-Nazi resistance, presided over the tribunal. Schoenman represented Lord Russell, who remained a ghostly figure in Wales.²

Fathering this contemptible lie upon Jean-Paul Sartre is a strange form of admiration. Mr. Oglesby, cheered on by Ms. Brightman in her review, imputes to Sartre a defense of U.S. imperialism against the ³baseless² charge of genocide.

He places in Sartre¹s mouth the revolting rationale of U.S. rulers themselves that the mass death of civilians in Vietnam was really the fault of the callous Vietnamese communists who hid their armies within population centers to deploy massive civilian deaths (now called Œcollateral damage¹) as cynical propaganda.

Mr. Oglesby elaborates upon these presumptive views of Sartre, which he claims Sartre set forth in indignant opposition to my assertions that genocidal attacks on the Vietnamese population were taking place.

³All day long Schoenman would say, on the one hand, things like, ŒLord Russell says he expects the tribunal to find the United States guilty of genocide,¹ where the subtext was that Russell was paying for this damned thing and did not want to be unhappy with its findings. And then on the other hand, when Sartre challenged him on the genocide issue, Schoenman would say, ³ ŒDon¹t expect me to defend Lord Russell¹s positions because I would not think of speaking for him.¹ ²

This is bizarre. I had been speaking and writing for six years on the subject. The Student Peace Union in the United States had published Bertrand Russell¹s writing on the genocidal war in Vietnam in 1963.

Bertrand Russell¹s book War Crimes In Vietnam, written before the Tribunal took place, set forth evidence we had made public since 1962. The first chapter, entitled ³The Press and Vietnam ­ March-July 1963² contains our exchanges with the New York Times regarding our documented evidence of U.S.

saturation bombing of the civilian populace and of insidious chemical weapons, including gases that explode the pupil of the eye.

It cites our letter to the New York Times referencing ³a year¹s study Š of the chemicals sprayed in South Vietnam and their effect upon the health of human beings, animals and crops.² It sets forth data concerning the use of ³white arsenic, various kinds of arsenite sodium and arsenite calcium, lead manganese arsenates, DNP and DNC (which inflame and eat into human flesh); and calcic cyanamide Š which has seriously affected thousands of the inhabitants of South Vietnam; with having spread these poisonous chemicals on large and densely populated areas of South Vietnam.

³ Š The use of these weapons,² we stated, ³napalm bombs and chemicals, constitutes and results in atrocities and points to the fact that this is a war of annihilation.²

This chapter describes how the New York Times published this letter, while excising the cited evidence and then accused Russell in an editorial of ³spreading communist propaganda, as he in his heart must know.²

It is instructive to note that Mr. Oglesby imputes to Jean-Paul Sartre the view that Bertrand Russell and I were ³following the line of North Vietnam² on the subject of genocide.

War Crimes in Vietnam was published in 1967 by Monthly Review Press and by George Allen & Unwin, Ltd. It included a 48 page essay of mine containing a detailed eye-witness account of the weaponry used and the effects on the population of North Vietnam.

It lists the members of the Tribunal. (Mr. Oglesby was not among them.) It describes the planned convening of the Tribunal in London on November 13,

1966 ³to announce its structure, statement of aims and time table.² It specified five areas of inquiry for which evidence would be assembled.

The fifth was ³the pursuit of genocidal policies, including forced labor camps, mass burials and other techniques of extermination in the South.² This issue and the evidence pertaining to it was on the agenda in Roskilde, near Copenhagen.

As I described our work in Against The Crime of Silence, ³We proclaimed our conviction that terrible crimes were occurring and that we were in possession of evidence of such magnitude that it was essential to investigate the charges of this accusation.

³Our evidence established that eight million people were placed in barbed wire internment camps by U.S. and South Vietnamese forces. It showed the systematic destruction of hospitals, schools, sanatoria, dams, dikes, churches and pagodas. It demonstrated that the cultural remains of a rich and complex civilization representing the legacy of generations had been smashed in a terror of five million pounds of high explosives daily.

³Every nine months, this destruction is roughly equivalent to the total bombardment of the Pacific theater in World War II. It is as if the Louvre and the cathedrals had been doused in napalm and pulverized by 1000 pound bombs.²

Mr. Oglesby does not rest at fathering upon Jean-Paul Sartre a rejection of my presumptive dogmatic insistence, allegedly without concern for evidence, that genocide was occurring in Vietnam. Mr. Oglesby attributes a fundamental division on these matters to the Tribunal members at large:

³Apart from the existential problems between Sartre and Schoenman, this split over the question of genocide was the one serious split among the members of the tribunal. In crudest terms, Russell wanted a guilty verdict on this question, but Sartre was determined to let the evidence speak for itself. And as Sartre saw it, the evidence did not prove genocide. He thought it essential that the tribunal demonstrate its independence by voting to satisfy its own conscience. And he had let it be known that he thought Russell in the wrong to push North Vietnam¹s line.²

Ms. Brightman, typically, cannot resist embellishing this citation. The word ³propaganda² is not Mr. Oglesby¹s but Ms. Brightman¹s, who slips it into her citation of his text, writing ³North Vietnam¹s propaganda line.²

Mr. Oglesby resumes his breathless account of a supposed envenomed exchange on the subject between Jean-Paul Sartre and myself:

³Schoenman didn¹t seem to care terribly about the quality of the evidence.

He had already harangued several closed sessions about this and was now doing it again.²

Ms. Brightman picks up the theme eagerly from Mr. Oglesby:

³Lord Russell was unhappy to hear of the recent attacks upon him by certain tribunal members,² Schoenman said, ³He is all the more distressed by these attacks in that they are occasioned by large differences within the tribunal on the issue of genocide.¹

³ ŒNo one has attacked Russell,¹ said Dellinger, who acted as the tribunal¹s secretary and occasional peacemaker. We simply disagree with him on this question. Why does he consider disagreement a personal attack?¹

³ ŒThat is for Lord Russell to say,¹ said Schoenman, ŒI would not presume to speak for him. I am here only to say that Lord Russell believes the United States guilty of genocide in Vietnam, and that he will be disappointed if the tribunal continues to attack him for this view. He believes it imperative that Š¹

³ ŒPremiere!¹ thundered Sartre. ŒOur findings will be significant only if they are supported by facts. Deuxieme! It is you who are under attack, Schoenman, not Lord Russell! Troisieme! You cannot both stand behind Lord Russell and put him in your pocket!¹ ²

Ms. Brightman then writes as follows:

³Schoenman bowed his head slightly but kept his composure. ŒI will see that Lord Russell receives a faithful account of your statement.¹ ³It was not a Œknockout¹ as Oglesby puts it.²

Revealingly, Ms. Brightman tampers with a quotation once again. Mr. Oglesby had written actually, ³It was not a knockout² with regard to the putative denunciation of my views by Jean Paul Sartre.

Ms. Brightman alters Oglesby¹s text and places his ³knockout² comment after my presumptive rejoinder!

Mr. Oglesby¹s breathless, blow-by-blow dramatization of this imputed conflict between Jean-Paul Sartre and myself, unfolding as he recounts it in Roskilde, near Copenhagen during the second session of the International War Crimes Tribunal, has one fatal flaw to which your readers should be alerted.

I was never there!

The entire drama in Roskilde set forth by Mr. Oglesby never happened. Nor was my inability to enter Denmark for the session of the Tribunal that Mr.

Oglesby purports to describe, something known only to insiders.

After my imprisonment in Bolivia immediately after the execution of Che Guevara during October 1967, and following upon a five months sojourn in Nuancahuazu during the time of Che Guevara¹s Bolivia campaign, I had escaped, was recaptured and imprisoned again.

After being deported to Peru, Panama and the U.S., my passport was nullified. The State Department refused to issue another, despite legal intervention by Leonard Boudin, General Counsel of the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee.

I secured an international travel document from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in a vain attempt to get to Copenhagen and Roskilde to resume my duties as Secretary General of the Tribunal and to be present at the session.

My flight first landed in Amsterdam where I was taken into custody by airport police. My Swedish lawyer, Hans-Joran Franck, who was an active part of the preparatory team of the tribunal in Stockholm, arranged with the Swedish government to allow my entry into Stockholm, whose good offices it was assumed would be invoked to facilitate my admission into Denmark, albeit on a North Vietnamese travel document.

Instead, the Swedish police took me off the flight and into jail where I was roughed up, my sternum fractured. I was then placed on a plane bound for Hamburg. Swedish supporters called in a bomb threat to the plane and it was compelled to return to Stockholm, to much fanfare in the European press.

From there, I was placed on a flight that stopped in Helsinki, where the police took me into custody. The name of the interrogating officer was Kafka ­ a touch, one would think, that would suit the theater of the absurd that so tempts Mr. Oglesby.

For several days I was a ³flying Dutchman,² unable to land in any European country, placed finally on a flight back to New York sandwiched between two U.S. federal agents.

All of this received ongoing notice in the media, particularly in Sweden and Denmark. I was not permitted to enter Denmark and did not attend the Danish session of the Tribunal nor engage in dialogue with any of its members.

Mr. Oglesby is not fazed. Describing further his ³adventures² in Copenhagen, he writes:

³Also sitting on the tribunal was the Polish historian Isaac Deutscher, author of major biographies of Lenin, Trotsky and StalinŠ²

Unfortunately, my close friend, Isaac, died of a heart attack in Rome the previous August 18th and, like me, was absent from the tribunal session in Roskilde.

The second session of the Tribunal alone examined the sixth question, on which evidence was presented during that meeting, namely: ³Whether the combination of the crimes imputed to the government of the United States met the general qualification of genocide.²

This issue was discussed in Copenhagen, but without me.

What then of the actual opinions of Jean-Paul Sartre on the subject of genocide and on the judgment appropriate to the Tribunal?

Did he espouse the views ascribed to him by Mr. Oglesby?

Fortunately, although Sartre is no longer with us, his views on the subject are memorialized in his presentation On Genocide, published in Against The Crime of Silence: Proceedings of the Russell International War Crimes Tribunal ­ Stockholm and Copenhagen (Ohare Books, 1968), pages 612 to 626 and expanded upon by tribunal member Lelio Basso in his Summation on Genocide, pages 626-643. They are entirely consonant with those of Russell and myself.

Sartre¹s On Genocide states, ³The Americans want to show others that guerrilla war does not pay: they want to show all the oppressed and the exploited nations that might be tempted to shake off the American yoke by launching a peoples¹ war, at first against their own pseudo-governments, the compradors and the army, then against the U.S. Special Forces and finally against the G.I.s. Š To Che Guevara, who said ŒWe need several Vietnams,¹ the American government answers ŒThey will all be crushed the way we are crushing the first.¹²

He continues, ³They do offer an alternative: Declare you are beaten or we will bomb you back into the stone age. The fact remains that the second term of this alternative is genocide. They have said: ³genocide, yes, but conditional genocide.² Is this juridically valid? Is it even conceivable?

³Š. An act of genocide, especially if it is carried out over a period of several years, is no less genocide for being blackmail. Š And this is all the more true when, as is the case here, a good part of the group has been annihilated to force the rest to give in.²

Sartre is clear, specific and passionate:

³In the South, the choice is the following: villages burned, the populace subjected to massive bombing, livestock shot, vegetation destroyed by defoliants, crops ruined by toxic aerosols and everywhere indiscriminate shooting, murder, rape and looting. This is genocide in the strictest sense:

massive extermination. Š What are the Vietnamese people to do to escape this horrible death? Join the armed forces of Saigon or be enclosed in strategic or ³New Life² hamlets, two names for the same concentration camps.²

Jean-Paul Sartre continues:

³As the armed forces of the United States entrench themselves firmly in Vietnam, as they intensify the bombing and the massacres, as they try to bring Laos under their control, as they plan the invasion of Cambodia, there is less and less doubt that the government of the United States, despite its hypocritical denials, has chosen genocide.²

Despite the claims by Ms. Brightman, pace Mr. Oglesby, that Sartre rejected the evidence of genocide marshaled at the International Tribunal, his actual words demonstrate where their half-truths lie.

Jean- Paul Sartre was unambiguous.

³The genocidal intent is implicit in the facts. It is necessarily pre-meditated. Š The anti-guerrilla genocide that our times have produced requires organization, military bases, a structure of accomplices and budget appropriations. Therefore, its authors must meditate and plan out their act.²

He continues as follows:

³When a peasant falls in his rice paddy, mowed down by a machine gun, every one of us is hit. The Vietnamese fight for all men and the American forces against all. Neither figuratively nor abstractly. And not only because genocide would be a crime universally condemned by international law, but because little by little the whole human race is being subjected to this genocidal blackmail piled on top of atomic blackmail, that is, to absolute total war.

³This crime, carried out every day before the eyes of the world, renders all who do not denounce it accomplices of those who commit it, so that we are degraded today for our future enslavement.²

Here is how Sartre concludes his exposition ³On Genocide²:

³In this sense, imperialist genocide can only become more complete. The group that the United States wants to intimidate and terrorize by way of the Vietnamese nation is the human group in its entirety.²

Mr. Oglesby and Ms. Brightman have imputed to Sartre an embrace of the rationale of U.S. rulers for their genocidal war. In the process, they reinvent me as a catspaw in furthering this farrago.

Late in 1968, well after the conclusion of the Tribunal sessions, the Stalinist regime of Brezhnev invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the students and steel workers who fought to reclaim the socialist ideal during the Prague Spring.

I flew to Rome to meet Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir at the Hotel Nazionale. We prepared a petition together to summon people to a defense of socialism with democratic control and content.

Together, with Bertrand Russell, Antonin Liehm, C.L.R James and prominent others, we prepared an international conference of socialists and anti-imperialists to defend the Czech worker and student resistance.

That conference also took place in Stockholm ­ in early Spring 1969.

It is not the evil that is new; nor is it the crisis that has changed.

Today, forty-one years later, Ms. Brightman and Mr. Oglesby, reprise their political role in these matters. In making truth a casualty to their predilections and petty ambition, they evince, now as then, the dishonest lengths to which they are prepared to go and, in the process, the limits of liberalism.

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I thought I'd add some other views re. Carl's new book. I have not yet read it. And, since he is a dear friend of mine now since 1973, I would not be the best to comment as I could hardly claim any unbias. I know that this book was a very long labor of love for Carl, and written during several health crises. So if there are errors, I can say that none were intentional: memory can be a funny thing. I know without doubt that there was no malice intended. Carl has always been a passionate advocate for peace and justice. First as an antiwar leader, then as a brilliant writer and analyst on the assassination of JFK. His work The Yankee and Cowboy War remains a masterpiece.


Editorial Reviews


"Carl Oglesby navigates readers through the passions, turbulence, excess, division, and movement politics of a period in American history that forever changed all who experienced it. A wild ride through the good and bad, success and tragedy of a wild era."

-- Senator John F. Kerry

"Carl Oglesby was known for his eloquence as a writer and speaker in those turbulent years of the movement against the war in Vietnam, when he was a leader of the Students for a Democratic Society. His memoir, written with grace and fervor, gives us a fascinating insight into the life and mind of a young radical as he immerses himself in one of the great social struggles of our time."

-- Howard Zinn, author of The People's History of the United States

"Oglesby's personal story is an American adventure told with charm, sadness, anger, and comedy. It's a racy read, in perfect pitch with the country-western songs of his southern Baptist roots. A must-read for anyone interested in 'how we got here today' from 'where we were in the Sixties'. The drama, heartache, exhilaration, and rage of the anti-Vietnam war movement feels so fresh it could be about our Iraq war dilemmas. His expansive, come-one-come-all mindset is a terrific shot in the arm. Unputdownable for activists, a breeze for the uninvolved."

-- Clancy Sigal, author of A Woman of Uncertain Character

"Oglesby's narrative rekindles the excitement of the 1960s when students and young professionals began making history and sensed the importance of their roles in stopping a senseless and brutal war and instigating needed social change at home. Because the book is so readable -- in an age where many students won't read "heavy prose" -- Ravens should become a text for history courses on the 1960s."

-- Saul Landau, author of A Bush and Botox World

"An unflinching, honest, and perceptive portrait of the sixties anti-war movement in all its promise, complexity, and contradictions. A fascinating and important book!"

-- Ron Kovic, author of Born on the Fourth of July

"Besides being an engaging read, this memoir about political struggle in the 1960s is a valuable document for understanding the everliving history of American liberal/radical protest."

-- Michael Parenti, author of Contrary Notions and Superpatriotism

Book Description

In 1964, Carl Oglesby, a young copywriter for a Michigan-based defense contractor, was asked by a local Democratic congressman to draft a campaign paper on the Vietnam War. Oglesby's report argued that the conflict was misplaced and unwinnable. He had little idea that its subsequent publication would put him on a fast track to becoming the president of the now-legendary protest movement Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). In this book, Oglesby shares the triumphs and tribulations of an organization that burgeoned across America, only to collapse in the face of surveillance by the U.S. government and infighting.

As an SDS leader, Oglesby spoke on the same platform as Coretta Scott King and Benjamin Spock at the storied 1965 antiwar demonstration in Washington, D.C. He traveled to war-ravaged Vietnam and to the international war crimes tribunal in Scandinavia, where he met with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. He helped initiate the Venceremos Brigade, which dispatched thousands of American students to bring in the Cuban sugar harvest. He reluctantly participated in the protest outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention and was a witness for the defense at the trial of the Chicago Seven the following year. Eventually, after extensive battles with those in SDS who saw its future more as a vanguard guerrilla group than as an open mass movement, Oglesby was drummed out of the organization. Shortly after, it collapsed when key members of its leadership quit to set up the Weather Underground.

This beautifully written and elegiac memoir is rich in contemporary echoes as America once again must come to terms with an ill-conceived military adventure abroad. Carl Oglesby warns of the destructive frustrations of a peace campaign unable to achieve its goals. But above all, he captures the joyful liberation of joining together to take a stand for what is right and just -- the soaring and swooping of a protest movement in full flight, like ravens in a storm.


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A convincing response by Ralph Schoenman. In saying this I am not implying anything malicious about Carl O., a person who I have frequetly read about over the years.

I respect, Ralph for his sincerety and a degree of scholarship that is virtually unmatched.

I do not always agree with his arguments reguarding the degree of unity in the ruling class. I think there is MUCH MORE UNITY now than there was around 1960-63 period, or at least there existed the possibility that some could THINK that there was more varieties of geopolitical strategy than there actually were (at least!). Sometimes it seems like Ralph and Joan Mellen conflate these two rather different historical periods.

I think P.D. Scotts use of the C.F.R. vs American Security Council rubric and timeline provides an interesting framework for discussing the degree of unity or division there was in the U.S. elites. He says, basically

A) 1945-1960 CFR Domination

:lol: 1960-73 Growing ASC influence within CFR but still strong differences witness post Tet Vietnam views of CFR

C) 1973-- present; the CFR become gradually more and more won over to the oil and military contractors view of unilatteralsm, in

contrast with the older CFR emphasis on multilatteral trade relations.

I think he outlined this view in his very usefull book, The Road to 9/11.

Ralph doesn't agree with this view. Once I heard him scoff in pronouncing P.D.s name. I wish he would make his objections more clear. He is so well informed that he shouldnt need to belittle someone. Why doesn't he invite P.D. on for a debate! I would tune in early for that one.

I VERY STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT EVERYONE CHECK out TAKINGAIMRADIO, the show that Ralph runs with Mya Schon. It is some of the best radio I have ever listened to . You can google it on the web. Especially hear the interview with Act of State author William Pepper on the 1-15-08 show. Also be sure to listen to their two shows on the The Nation magazine.

Max Holland fans need not apply!

Edited by Nathaniel Heidenheimer
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Taking aim is on right now and Ralph and Mya are discussing the article mentioned by Breitman as well as the Corporate Media coverage of the 1960s in general. You can listen right now by going to WBAI on line, or listen to the show which will be up later. There are going to be phonecalls taken. 5:06 NYC time.

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I don't know about any of this except my head is spinning from reading it and I don't understand why it is suddenly so important.

Maybe carpet bombing of North Vietnam was genocide, and Walt Rostow, LBJ and LeMay are now in hell because of it.

As for Schoenman, I met with him in DC a few years ago, with John Judge, discussing another march on Washington for some reason or other.

I first met Schoenman in the 70s in NYC at the NYU Law School conference on JFK assassination, where I also met Mae Brussell, Penn Jones, Fletcher Prouty and others, for the first time.

Schoenman was holding up copies of some FBI reports from Puerto Rico about the mob and Teamster ties of Minguel Cruz, a Cuban who Schoenman said was arrested with Oswald in New Orleans.

Schoenman gave me copies of these documents, and a few weeks later I went to the NARA and read some other documents about Minguel Cruz and learned that he was 17 years old at the time of the arrest with Oswald in New Orleans and that the Cuban in Puerto Rico was a different person with the same name, different age.

I called Schoenman on the phone and he invited me to his house, near Princeton, and I sat his dining room table and shared my new documents with him and he agreed that he had the wrong guy. My first debunk.

Then we went on and discussed other, even more curious angles of the assassination, but I didn't know that he was married to Joan Mellen, nor even know who she was at the time.

While Schoenman is also involved in the Garrison/Russell business, and Schoenman is probably right about most matters, I think he is wrong about B. Russell not having any correspondence with Judyth V. Baker. There is a letter from her listed among the posted records of Bertrand Russell, but I don't belive anything else she says.

When I was with Ralph in DC a few years ago, I ran the JFK Grand Jury idea past him, and he explained how it would never work. And so far he's been right on that.


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